Levi’s Partners With Recycled-Cotton Start-Up

Levi Strauss & Co. has created a jean made from post-consumer recycled cotton. To make the jean, the San Francisco–based denim giant partnered with Seattle-based social-purpose company Evrnu, which has developed a technology for recycling post-consumer cotton clothing to create a recycled cotton-like fiber for use in clothing.

“LS&Co. was the perfect first partner for us to demonstrate our technology and capability as they are an iconic American company with a product that’s recognized around the world,” said Evrnu Chief Executive Officer Stacy Flynn in a statement. “Our aspiration is to build a pair of Levi’s jeans that are just as beautiful and strong as the original, and we’re making great progress toward that goal.”

The Levi’s-Evrnu prototype jean is made with yarn made from approximately five cotton T-shirts in a process Evrnu says uses 98 percent less water than traditional cotton products.

“This first prototype represents a major advancement in apparel innovation. We have the potential to reduce by 98 percent the water that would otherwise be needed to grow virgin cotton while giving multiple lives to each garment,” said Paul Dillinger, head of global product innovation at Levi Strauss & Co. “Although in its early days, this technology holds great promise and is an exciting advancement as we explore the use of regenerated cotton to help significantly reduce our overall impact on the planet.”

The Levi’s-Evrnu prototype is part of Levi’s ongoing innovation and sustainability strategy. The company has shared its WaterLess finishing techniques with other manufacturers around the world in an effort to encourage water conservation throughout the apparel industry and reduce water consumption worldwide. Levi’s Wellthread products also look at the social, environmental and economic sustainability factors within the product’s lifecycle.

“By tackling water conservation through new fiber innovation, the apparel industry has the potential to significantly reduce its water footprint,” Dillinger said. “As technologies such as Evrnu evolve over time, there will be greater opportunities to accelerate the pace of change toward a closed-loop apparel industry.”

Evrnu was founded in 2014 with a mission to address “the problem of the resource-intensive, environmentally negative impact of the textile and apparel industries.” Evrnu’s recycled-cotton technology breaks down the postconsumer waste fabric to the molecular level and converts it into a high-quality textile fiber. For more information, visit